This weeks Legend of the Woods story is told by Nick and Jake of Otown Outdoors. These fellas weren’t able to harvest this deer but did have numerous picture of this deer, and they tell how close they were to possibly getting a shot at him.
Otown Outdoors Recap of hunting Houdini
www.veteranip.com Shoutout - Ken Payne
Ingram's Outdoor Obsessions
Written by: Mark Hurley
Its a early November morning and the first rays of sun hit the bench that I was hugged against. I waited ten minutes and drop my first milkweed to make sure I have my setup absolutely on point. As I watched the fluff of plant fiber start to bounce around I knew that I hit the sweet spot. Where the thermal current and wind collide and create a eddy. Just then I notice movement as a group of seven does start picking at the leftover acorns on there way to bed. I was tucked just down wind of there bedding area.
How the land features work here is almost as if god created the steep ridge and rock formation just for a bowhunter. Every deer that hits this bench has to filter in front of my stand. That puts them within 25 yards and makes it impossible for them to hit my scent wall.
Just as the lady's were starting to get settled in and picking there beds. I heard the sound all deer hunter know to well. The sound of a buck trolling and grunting every step. It was a two and a half year old basket rack eight pointer. He read the script to a tee. As he tiptoed by I could tell he was on edge. The first thing that came to mind is he had his butt handed to him not to long ago. I knew there was a big boy in this area he was trying to avoid. As the young buck slipped off to run another ridge that drops down into the thousands of public land acres. Know as the Shenandoah Valley mountains. I focus my gave back on the does, studding the body language.
One of the most beautiful things about bowhunting is, the opportunity to watch and learn. For instance the sounds that different animals make that will alert deer or put them at ease. As I'm enjoying the show and paying close attention to the does. I notice one perk its ears up. Its now 11:30 in the morning and I catch a glimpse of a buck using a thicket of Mt. Laurel as cover to scent check the does I'm set up on.
As I'm watching the does and trying not to get busted as I settle my hand on my bow. Its time to initiate the ancient dance between hunter and game. The buck started to hug tight to the downwind side of the does, not 15 yards away from my position. The next few moments felt like a eternity. As the buck took every step with purpose and precision as he is feeling the situation out. Every bowhunter dreams of him stopping perfectly broadside as my arrow glides straight through both his lungs.
This same situation has played out for me over the years with great success. There is a magical short window where multiple bucks are checking these doe bedding areas. They become like clock work, becoming slaves to the need to ensure there survival. As the last weeks of October hits I am focusing on pattering bucks and there bedding habits to down wind side of does bedding. Putting myself as close as possible to them beaded does. Then in late November I start to finally focus on pinch points for the simple reason most does have gotten bread already and the big bucks are trolling for the next lady whos down to party. Depending on the deer density some bucks will travel miles. Something I've noticed in the later part of November, your small bucks activity starts to drop dramatically. The touch of gray is this is when I see my biggest bucks of the season up on there feet.
I do want to add that this seems like a very strict and to the point game plan. Maybe foolproof but trust me everyday in the pursuit of mature bucks is the furthest thing from foolproof. Any time I see some sign that screams big buck I will abandon the game plan at a drop of the hat. A lot of people love the rut and I share the energy and excitement. You never know what might walk by and who doesn't like to see full on chasing action. Plus its a great time to hammer the buck of a lifetime.
But in my style of hunting the time period that excites me most is the month before and the month after the rut. I love setting traps for mature bucks on there patterns and there beds. The rut is so unpredictable and its a lottery of being in the right spot at the right time.
This is my first blog type of writing and I'm still trying to figure it out. So work with me lol. I love sharing tips and information on things I have seen or experienced on my page Shenandoah Bowhunter . I use it to document my pursuit for mature bucks in the mountains. I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to step into the world of the whitetail deer and fail but learn, be successful and celebrate.
This weeks hunter profile is Matt Bartlett. Matt is 27 years old and lives in Bushnell Illinois. He has got big buck killing down to a science. Always getting it done no matter what it takes. You can find a lot of Matt kills on film @ Last Breath.
I ask Matt a few questions so you can get to know him better as a hunter and as a person.
What got you into hunting?
Always been a family tradition, my father and grandfather are who taught me my first many years of hunting, fishing, and trapping. Starting as young as I can remember.
Tell me about the places you hunt. (States, Property, Ect.)
I hunt Illinois for whitetails and turkeys all of the properties I hunt are small. Most have less than 20 acres of timber on them. Over half are low lying river bottoms, lots of soft maples and ash trees. Lots of grass and open areas. These properties normally don't hold high deer densities, but in some cases have good quality even with extremely high pressure from neighbors. Hunting highly pressured deer is something I've gotten very used to and adapted towards. It's very likely to see several cars on a hunt driving around in that golden hour. Or even someone hunting within half mile of me any given day.
What is one thing you would tell your younger hunting self.
One tactic I would tell my younger self would be, patience in the early season. Stay out of certain places till at least after the 20th of October. Something I still struggle with time to time.
Most important tool you use in the field.
My most important tool I use in the field is actually several. Trail cameras are my most important guide. Scouting is my number 2, lots of scouting. My archery equipment is tied at number 2. I take lots of time to be extremely familiar with my archery gear, I shoot often, and practice at ranges I know I'll take 95% of my shots from.
Why do you believe you have been so successful.
I've been successful because of learning so much at an early age, building on that knowledge and continuing to learn every hunt, card pull or even a deer looking drive. I observe everything on the way in and out looking for changes. So what I'm saying is personal growth and attention to finite details.
One tactic you live by.
I live by risk it to get the biscuit. Get them in the truck anyway you can. Doesn't matter if its on the ground with no blind, a hang and hunt scenario, or if I've patterned a certain deer. Sometimes it may sound very cliché... but in a lot of cases I generally get a gut feeling about when and where I need to be at a given time. A lot of the times it seems to pan out.
If you could tell a non hunter something to change there mind what would it be.
Seeing a sunrise or sunset, listening to the wind wake up and fall asleep , with no knowledge of you even being there. It is more beautiful than a person can imagine. Seeing the animals in their natural state doing what they do and not knowing you're there. Lots of times you go home without even releasing a arrow or shooting a shot. I think those days are just as enjoyable as the ones where a harvest happens. When you're passionate about it like I am and put that much work into stand location or a set up. you think about for hours, days , years and it unfolds just the way you dreamt it would happen. Its humbling but also extremely rewarding.
Other than Matt being a incredible deer hunter and a drop dead handsome feller. He has been very successful at hand fishing.
Find out more about Matt and watch his films.
This year we took on something we have never done before a prescribed burn. We acquired a new piece of hunting ground this past season. One of the stipulations to hunt the ground was to burn about a 12 acre piece of CRP. With both of us being new to this we did some research on the proper way to burn and the benefits it will provide to the land.
Research & Benefits
With some quick google work we ran into (The Benefits of Prescribed Burning on Private Land). With it and some knowledge from the land owner we made our plan of attack for burn. This being a pheasant habitat area, we knew that it would improve there habitat and nesting areas. By eliminating heavy vegetation and trees that had started to grow in the crp. We also knew it would create a green up giving great browse for the deer on the property.
We started in the summer before the burn creating a fire break all the way around perimeter. We did this by mowing the crp very short creating a die off in the winter. We then marked all fences and plan where we wanted to start the fire and stop. Got the equipment and waited for spring to come. We wanted to burn between mid Feb. and before April. So we didn't effect prime nesting times.
The Day Of The Burn
We waited until it was a clear day and the grass would be dry on a Friday in mid March. With a rain storm coming in that evening, we knew this would be a perfect time. We called the county and told them we would be burning and then took off for the property. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. Call the county help desk. Very easy to do and take no time. This way they don't get a hundred call about the fire and dispatch a fire department.
What We Learned
With us being a two man crew. We found out we could of used some more help right away. It broke the fire break in one spot, but we quickly got it out. With the rain that was coming in the wind wasn't true making it a little harder to stay out of smoke line. With this being our first time we let the fire go very slowly against the wind. We shortly figured out that we could make small jumps with the fire. Covering more ground much faster. We did this by going 50 yards up and making a line of fire. Letting the wind blow fire back into area that was already burned.
The fire was a great success. We burned the whole 12 acres in about 4 hours. The land owner was very pleased and we are excited to see the wildlife utilizing the area.
Have You Ever Done A Prescribed Burn?
This week’s Legends Series buck comes from yet again Illinois. Casey with Management Advantage tells a story about a 8.5 year old buck named Oscar. Casey explains the expansive history with this deer and some management tips that helped this deer stay on his property.
Follow this link to watch the hunt Oscar
www.veteranip.com - Shoutout - Andy Hunt
Ingram's Outdoor Obsessions
Hunter profile of our buddy Matt from The Rise hunt team. Matt is 28 years old, he was born and raised in Mid-Michigan. He has yet to find his special match, so he is single and ready to mingle lol.
He has hunted in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, North Dakota, Kansas and Wisconsin. So he has a vast knowledge of different areas and how to kill bucks in different land types.
I asked Matt some simple questions so you can get to know him better as a person and as a hunter.
What got you into hunting?
My dad introduced me to hunting and more specifically bowhunting at a young age. Growing up on a Christmas tree farm ensured that I spent the majority of my childhood outdoors every chance I could. As I grew older I began to challenge my passion for hunting more, which led to filming hunts and later starting a web based film series named THE RISE with co-founder Tyler Bentley and a crew of energetic and like minded friends and partners.
Tell me about the places you hunt. (States , Property, Ect. )
In Michigan, I mostly hunt my family's property along with a few other property I have permission on. I really enjoy food plotting and other various habitat management that aids in the overall health of the deer herd. Keeping deer numbers in check and targeting the most mature bucks in the area.
My out of state hunts include a mix of public and private land. Each fall my dad and I typically lease a piece of ground in Northern Missouri that we spend several weeks at throughout the year. However I have also met many generous people across the country, that have granted me permission with nothing more than a handshake. Though private land can be an easier and more predictable hunt. I enjoy noting more than the challenge of hunting big deer on public lands, and find myself doing this each fall.
If you could tell your younger hunting self. What would it be?
If I had to pick one tactic to teach my younger hunting self, it would be to not to hunt fully off your trail cams. With that said, I do believe trail cameras can be very deadly tool. They have helped me kill several nice deer to date. However, they have also cost me a few opportunities over the years. It's easy to become discouraged when a big deer starts to ghost your camera setups. But that doesn't always mean he has vanished completely. You never know when he may show back up, or even another buck that meets your goals. So basically, what I'm saying is use your cameras to learn. But don't use them as a excuse not to hunt.
Most important tool you use in the field?
The most important tool I use in the field is hands down my cell phone. Whether it be using it to check the weather, satellite and plat maps, or just using it to keep myself entertained and on the stand longer periods of time. Its a must have tool.
Why do you believe you have had success hunting?
One reason I believe I have been succesful is becasue I've learned to enjoy failling. I've learned that nothing ever goes as planned, and often times you're more likely to fail than succeed. If you can learn to love the process and the challenge while staying determined to accomplish your goals you will find a way. On top of this believe keeping a positive attitude is key to succeeding, douting yourself is the quickest way to fail.
What is one tactic you live by?
One tactic I live by is honestly to just have fun. Its super simple, we each only have so many days on this earth and only so many hunts to enjoy. Make the best of every situation, and dont take things so seriously, its supposed to be fun. Besides, nobody likes a debbie-downer in camp right?
If you could tell a non-hunter something to change there mind. What would it be?
If I could have one conversation with a non-hunter that would change their outlook, I would educate them on the conservation efforts and funding provided by hunters, anglers and sportsmen across our country. To restore and protect our wildlife and land. I feel there is a growing problem in this country with anti-hunters pointing fingers at us so caller "murderers" looking to put an end to our lifestyle. I often think we as hunters don't receive the credit we deserve from the general public for rebuilding and maintaining wildlife populations across the landscape. Organizations such as NWTF, RMEF and Pheasants Forever, have done more for wildlife than non-hunters can note. Coupled with dollars received through hunting and fishing license sales. I think its safe to say which group is doing the most to protect abundant wildlife.
Find more about Matt at The Rise
Just a Georgia hunter that don't know a thing.
By Paul E. Synoground Jr.
As a follower of Whitetail Legacy Podcast on all platforms, I see their #hardquestionoftheday on Twitter. Several questions that stirred some responses were, if someone kills a 200" buck does that automatically make them a good hunter? Or ( I loved this one) what percentage of hunting and killing a giant whitetail is luck?
Now I know there are more animals out there to hunt besides whitetail deer, but deer is what I know and chase the most so that'll be the most prominent species I talk about.
How many ways are there to measure a person's ability to be a good hunter? Do they kill big bucks, do they manage does properly, do they hunt with a bow, with a gun?
Do they buy the best camo or equipment, how much time do they spend working on their property versus hunting the same piece of property?
I have some honest questions, what does it really matter? I mean who do you want to think you're a good hunter? Do you really think buying a 500 dollar set of camouflage gives you more of an advantage over someone who buys 100 dollar camo? Does your 2500 dollar compound bow make you fell better than someone who shoots a 350 dollar bow from a big box store? I think as outdoorsmen and women we need to realize we may be pushing people out of a sport that we all love because now its a competition.
Being a good hunter in my eyes has more to do with the person than their equipment or even their kills. I believe being a good hunter has to start with being a good human being in the first place. Do you hunt dee because it has antlers or maturity? I believe killing a mature doe can sometimes be just a challenging as killing a buck. If you had a 5 1/2 year old doe and a 2 year old 7 pointer, which would you shoot?
Being a good hunter is knowing when to, or when not to take a shot literally and figuratively. All in all, a good hunter is being true to you. Do what makes you happy. If your neighbor shoots a 200" deer congratulate him, show him some love. I he shoots a spike or a doe even, show him that same love.
Its all about doing what makes you happy not the next guy, take your kids out and teach them the sport, get them off the couch. Am I a good hunter? By some peoples standards, probably not but I don't care, I'm happy. We have to stop bashing each other, seriously. Honestly more people can contribute their kills to chance than they can hard work, so does that make them a good hunter because that deer happen to come by chance? Get someone new into hunting, kids, neighbors, neighbors kids, somebody anybody. Get away from the competition instead,
LEAVE A LEGACY
Are You A Good Hunter?
Post a comment why.
This episode of our short series is with Clint Bell who shot a 182 typical in Illinois. Clint's history with this deer is brief, but still had a great plan to be able to sneak in and seal the deal on this legend.
www.veteranip.com - Shoutout - Landon Doyle
Ingram's Outdoor Obsession
This is our good buddy Alex from The Rise. I asked him a few questions so you guys can get to know him better as a hunter and as a person. Alex is 31 years old and lives in Mt. Clemens, Mi. He is engaged to Katie Roberts, He hunts Michigan, Ohio, Kentuky.
What got you into hunting?
Alex-My father got me into deer hunting.
Tell me about the places you hunt? (States, Property type)
Alex-I hunt mainly big timber, hills in Ohio and Michigan. Very little crop land around hunting property.
One tactic you could tell your younger hunting self?
Alex-One tactic for a younger hunter is to have fun and don't get hung up on the size of the animal, its about the size of the hunt. Not the animal.
Why do you believe you have been so successful in your hunting career?
Alex- Plain and simple. I never give up, hunting until the last day of season.
Most important tool you use in the filed?
Alex- I believe the most important tool I utilize in season is my trail cameras.
One thing to tell a non-hunter?
Deer meat is delicious and we spend more money keeping animals alive than killing them.
Find more about Alex At The Rise
By John Workman
Many non hunters, or even anti hunter, don't understand the brain of a Whitetail hunter. These people have a tendency to think that we are all out to just slaughter an innocent species in its habitat. What they don't understand is that season never ends and the care for these animals never end. The respect we as hunters pay to these animals is incredible.
Most think the last day in the stand is the end of season. But in reality season never ends for us. Within days of the last hunt, we are moving cams and feeding to find out what deer made it though the season. Helping them recover from a grueling fall breading season.
By the first signs of spring or break of winter weather we are shed hunting for antlers of those bucks who survived. Suppling mineral sights, adding feed to supplements and begin to plant food plots.
Then comes spring turkey season. When we are out there we mentally record travel routes and left over sign from previous fall. So turkey season isn't just about chasing those notorious Toms everyone talks about. its a scouting mission as well.
When summer comes the much anticipated watching of antler growth and the birth of fawns. The trail cameras come out and many hours of silent planning and learning the movements of that amazing buck that has caught your eye begins.
Before you know it, it's the night before opening day. Even though we know we have to be up at 4am. Our brains will not allow us to sleep. The anticipation will almost kills us. Its a year long process for another season worth of memories that will fill our lives and keep us going.
This is what we do. This is what we love. This is why we do it.
Could you survive without deer hunting? I know we couldn't.